Hidden in the collections of Brown University’s Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection is a watercolor painting of a US Army cavalryman at Pottsville in September 1863.
I recently stumbled across the mysteriously attributed piece of artwork during research for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The painting is titled “Volunteer Cavalryman” and is dated September 5th, 1863. The attribution of the painting is labeled William M. Huddy, an artist who worked in Philadelphia in the early 19th century. However, Huddy died in 1846.
The painting immediately brought to mind a previous article we posted earlier in 2020 about the attempted assassination of General William Whipple near Pottsville in early August 1863. Elements of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry were among US Army units rushed into the Coal Region to nominally tamp down anti-conscription violence following the attempted assassination. These were one of the only cavalry units stationed at Pottsville at the time according to War Department records, suggesting that this painting shows a member of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry at Pottsville.
We will continue to research this sketch as we continue documenting the extensive military occupation of Schuylkill County and other Coal Region communities during the Civil War.
Featured Image: “Volunteer Cavalryman,” 1863 – Prints, Drawings and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:705644/